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Finding the fit: market-scale EVs / PEVs and the distribution grid

It is no longer a matter of if, but when electric vehicles (EVs) will be fully adopted by the market. In the US, identifying opportunities and implications for EV-to-grid integration is best evaluated from a system-wide perspective.

In the US, ISOs / RTOs are well positioned to be a leader in smart grid. Plug-in vehicles (PEVs) have become a focus of bulk system operators, along with demand response, renewables and smart grid. Some perspectives on the potential for PEVs and EVs:

  • PEV charging density issues will create a new frontier in load flexibility in the distribution system. Congress is focusing on the bulk transmission grid and commercial and industrial applications. However, some attention should also be directed to the residential-side and the impact on the distribution grid. Particular attention needs to be given to understanding customer behavior and avoiding overloading distribution transformers and systems.
  • PEVs will need to fit into a system without a charging station infrastructure. They also need to be capable of fitting into a smarter grid. Smart charging technology—coupling electric vehicles with GPS-based locational technology and a 120 v extension cord—and on-board metering will enable instantaneous demand response and ensure that PEVs will work on today and tomorrow’s grid.
  • PEVs could provide a controllable load to the grid, and could be an excellent dispatchable resource through smart charging—allowing matching load to generation at multiple scales of interest: hours, seconds-to-minutes and sub-second response.

A more detailed summary of the executive-level energy and utility industry dialog held at KEMA’s 2nd annual Utility of the Future conference – including the Plug-In Vehicle panel – is available on-line and as a download at www.kema.com/utilityfuture2009.

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